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Meet Josh Richardson

Josh Richardson
As the climate changes, our weather will change in ways that will make certain areas uninhabitable. This will cause large-scale migration globally, and we are looking at a projected 50 to 250 million climate refugees by 2050. I want to work on building an infrastructure to deal with that.

Josh Richardson has always been interested in science and environmental sustainability. He earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental geology and his master’s degree in geology, focusing on aqueous geochemistry, from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he grew up.

Additionally, he spent several years at the Illinois State Geological Survey, where he worked assessing the environmental impact to property and helping with wetland remediation and research.

Richardson started thinking about how seminary and science came together about two years ago while undergoing treatment for cancer. “During my treatments, I had a lot of time to evaluate what I was doing with my life and what I can do to maximize my time on this planet to help the most people,” he said.

That is when he decided to focus on climate change and how people interact with the environment. “Climate change is really much more of a human problem and less of a scientific problem,” he said. “We have to change our behavior and our mindset if we are ever going to make the necessary changes.”

That is also when he decided to apply for seminary. Seminary made sense to Richardson for several reasons. First, he said, he is a person of faith. He also believes that Christians and the church have a responsibility to help with environmental issues. But, what appealed to him the most is the realization that the church has built-in networks that could help solve the environmental crisis. “We have this incredible opportunity to serve others if we can mobilize churches to change the infrastructural systems because the connections are already there,” he said.

He chose Garrett-Evangelical because it is a well-known seminary recognized for its academic rigor and because of the new master of arts in public ministry. “The coursework specifically around ecological regeneration appealed to me,” he said.

Richardson said he is finding his classes challenging and interesting. He also finds his work as a sustainGETS associate fulfilling. “We not only work with the institution to change habits and internal systems,” he said, “but we also promote lifestyle changes within the seminary to make people aware of how they can make significant changes in their own lives to become less extractive and more balanced in the way they interact with our planet.”

When Richardson graduates he is looking to create or join a non-profit that will help build critical infrastructure to deal with the impending climate migration crisis. “As the climate changes, our weather will change in ways that will make certain areas uninhabitable,” he said. “This will cause large-scale migration globally, and we are looking at a projected 50 to 250 million climate refugees by 2050. I want to work on building an infrastructure to deal with that.”